As promised, here are some observations I’ve made over the last 2 1/2 months of continuous travel.
If you’ve traveled, I mean proper traveled where you’re in hostel after hostel for weeks upon weeks, then hopefully (hopefully) you’ve learned some manners. For those of you who haven’t traveled and are perhaps looking to travel, here’s how to not piss me off.
1. Your bed and your locker are your space. The floor around your bed is not your space. Sure, if you’ve got a little nook that really only opens itself to your bed, fine. Yes, shoes or suitcases under the bed are okay. You’re not the only person (likely) so remember to leave space for everyone else.
But if you’re leaving dirty socks, and grocery bags and old food around your whole bed, it’s disgusting. You’re not at home. But you can be. Go home.
2. Noise. The times are posted for when rooms are quiet. Usually 10pm, sometimes 11pm. That means, don’t come in laughing with your friends, don’t come in whispering to your girlfriend. That’s what hallways are for. Rooms are for sleeping. So finish your conversation, then come inside. Same goes for the morning. You see one of your hostel friends first thing in the morning. They want to talk about their plans for the day. Just give them a fat thumbs up and motion that you’ll talk about it outside.
If you’re leaving early (early exists all the way up until, like, 9am) pack your bag the night before. I cannot stress this enough. It’s rude for you to be crunching and flopping around at 5am while people are sleeping. Pack your bag the night before, leaving out what you know you’ll need for your travels. Then finish getting your things together in the hallway. This is a hostel you’re staying at, not a five star hotel. No one cares if you’re zipping your shit up in the hallway.
If you’re a late night person, make sure the things you need to prepare yourself for bed are made handy. Like, put your toothbrush, makeup remover, face wash blah blah blah, in a bag. Put your pjs near the bag. Make that bag accessible in your locker so when you come back late you don’t have to juggle around 65 extra crispy, crumply bags for all of us to wake up to.
3. Lights. Dude, don’t. It’s so rude to come home at midnight and turn the lights on. It’s 2020, use your phone light. You chose to come home late, unprepared. Don’t punish all of those who REM because you’re sloppy.
4. Movement. This is really a “me” specific thing, but it makes me crazy. We’re in bunk beds. I know you need to get comfy when you’re going to sleep, but remember that every move you make rattles the whole bed. That means the person above or below you are 1000% shaking in their beds every time you roll over. Every time you throw something onto your bed, every time you kick around the sheets. Literally everything that touches these bunkbeds is radiated through the whole damned hostel. Just. Stop moving. Take a sleeping pill and forget you have a body, please.
5. In common areas, or in rooms, I’m not having a conversation with your boyfriend or niece, okay? Wear headphones when you’re talking to someone and be aware that people around you are trying to mind their own business. If you’re listening to music, or an instagram story – dog, just wear headphones. Please. I’m not forcing you into anything, don’t force me. TV shows? Headphones. They’re cheap. Hell, I’ve got an extra pair and I’m happy to give it to you if it means a moment of peace.
If you piss on the seat, wipe it up. You’re the reason you complain about bathrooms being gross. So, don’t be.
Always bring earplugs. There’s nothing to be done about the snoring.
Always bring and eyemask. Someone will always be a dick and turn the light on.
Again, hostel. Not hotel. If you make a mess in the kitchen, not only is it rude for the staff to have to do your dishes or wipe up your crumbs, but it’s even more rude for other people who are trying to cook their meals.
This is subtle: if someone is reading, or on their computer with their headphones in and you talk to them but they look like they’re busy, leave them alone. The conversation you’re going to have while you’re eating is not going to satsify you and it’s really just going to annoy the other person. You’re making enemies here.
Shower. It’s free. If you don’t have soap, just rinse of anyway. Use the hand soap in the bathrooms. We shouldn’t have to smell you all night. Similarly, hostels are not the place to wear perfume. If you’re going to impress anyone, it won’ t be from your DKNY.
Make friends. If you’re lonely, just sit with a group of people. Ask where everyone is from. People in hostels are expecting it. And often, you meet really great people. Drink the cheap beer (unless it’s not cheap [Dublin Generator]) (if you don’t drink just use your charm to ease into the conversation).
Do go on the free tours. They’re donation based, and do give donations even if it’s €£$2. Don’t be on your phone or talking to your friends the whole time. You chose to come listen to someone talk. If you don’t like it, toss the guide a Queen and leave.
Do go into every single bookstore and touch everything.
Do try a local foods (praline tarts in France, café con leche or vermut in Spain, soda bread in Ireland, gluhwein in Germany [I was told to try lasagna in every region of Italy])
Be respectful of the space. It’s shared by people like you, and people very unlike you. Always ask questions when you don’t know something, and be kind to people who don’t speak the same language as you.
Travel is crazy and amazing and so much about the places you’re in, but so much more about the time you had while you were there.